Autism Every Day
|Autism Every Day|
|Directed by||Lauren Thierry|
|Produced by||Eric Solomon|
|Music by||APM Music|
|Edited by||Brian Dileo|
|13 minutes (2006 debut)|
46 minutes (Sundance version)
Autism Every Day is a 2006 documentary film sponsored by Autism Speaks, and produced by Lauren Thierry, Jim Watkins and Eric Solomon. It follows mothers with autistic children and consists mainly of interviews with the mothers.
A 13-minute version of Autism Every Day debuted at a fundraiser named "A New Decade for Autism" in New York City on May 9, 2006, and made its mainstream debut on Don Imus show on MSNBC the following day. It was selected by the Sundance Institute as a special screening film at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. A 7-minute version of the film can be found on Autism Speaks' YouTube Channel.
The New York Observer said the film was a
short documentary film ... about the lives of mothers of autistic kids. The film consists mainly of interviews with mothers (and scenes of them with their autistic children), mothers whose lives have been utterly transformed. The situation of these mothers is just unrelieved, unrelenting.
According to Stuart Murray, author of Representing Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination, disability rights advocates criticized the film for categorizing the disorder as "one of problems and difficulties, especially for parents", while ignoring the positive aspects.
Criticism and controversy
One interview in the film that drew significant controversy was that of Alison Tepper Singer, who contemplated driving off a bridge with her autistic daughter Jodie Singer. She then said that the only reason she didn't was because she had a neurotypical (non-autistic) daughter at home. The interview was conducted in front of her autistic daughter, without any apparent regard for the fact that her daughter could understand everything she was saying. Some have drawn a connection between Alison and Karen McCarron, a woman who murdered her autistic daughter on May 13, 2006, 4 days after the film's debut. Additionally, in the most ironic part of this interview, when Jodie puts her arms around her mother and says, "I love you, Mommy," Alison Singer pushes her away because she is too 'busy' talking about how her daughter "doesn't love [her]."
Both the film and Autism Speaks have received heavy criticism from autistic people and groups advocating for autistics, with complaints about the film including that it focuses more on the bigoted parents than the actual lives of autistic children themselves, as well as that it portrays autistic people as tragic burdens than as actual human beings who happen to be autistic - which most of them do not want to be "cured" of or see it as a bad thing. It is also criticized for the fact that many of these interviews - most of which are about the things the parents can't do and how horrible it is to have a child with autism - are conducted with said child in the room, again without any regard for the fact that their children can hear and understand the parents talking about how horrible it is to have to take care of them. This is especially focused on with the aforementioned case of Alison Singer.
- List of films about Autism
- Autism spectrum disorders in the media
- Autism: The Musical
- Dad's in Heaven with Nixon
- The Horse Boy
- Recovered: Journeys Through the Autism Spectrum and Back
- Moore, Abigail Sullivan (2007-01-21). "Hard-Hitting Look at Autism Is Being Shown at Sundance". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- "Autism Speaks, Get Involved, Our Events, Upcoming Events, A New Decade for Autism: Changing the Future Together". Autismspeaks.org. 2006-05-09. Archived from the original on 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- "Short Feature Hits Home for Parents of Autistic Children". Autism.about.com. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- "Autism Speaks, Press Updates, Autism Every Day Selected as Special Screening Film at 2007 Sundance Film Festival" (Press release). Autismspeaks.org. 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- "Autism Speaks, Get Involved, Our Events, Autism Every Day". Autismspeaks.org. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- "Documenting Truth About Autism". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- "Film Documents Families Coping With Autism". ABC News. 2006-08-08. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- "Autism Every Day - 7 minute version". YouTube.
- "Uses of Disenchantment: TV Anchor-Mom Fights Autism and Films It". The New York Observer. 2006-06-04. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- Andersen, Robin and Jonathan Gray (2008). Battleground: the media. pp. 127–128. ISBN 978-0-313-34167-0.
... Though Thierry undoubtly wanted to tell the truth, much of the footage in Autism Every Day is characteristic of nonfiction programming designed to attract ratings. And such dark and uncomfortable relevations are only one side of living with children with autism ... Tepper Singer is a mother who, in the Autism Every Day video, talks about wanting to drive off the George Washington Bridge with her autistic daughter. Many autistic persons and families with autistic children have reacted with outrage and disgust to Singer's statement and have even drawn a connection between her and Karen McCarron.
- Murray, Stuart (2008). Representing Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination. Liverpool University Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-84631-092-8.
... [the film] drew substantial criticism from disability rights advocates because of its concentration on the condition as one of problems and difficulties, especially for parents. It created particular controversy when one of the mothers being interviewed, discussing the struggles she had endured in searching for a school for her child, commented that the only reason she had not put her autistic daughter in her car and driven off of a bridge was because she has another daughter, who does not have autism.
- "2014 Joint Letter to the Sponsors of Autism Speaks". Autistic Self Advocacy Network. January 6, 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2016-03-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "An Autistic Speaks About Autism Speaks". Daily Kos. Retrieved 20 October 2018.